Every year for the first ten days of Muharram I take the time to remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussain. I don’t participate in self-flagellation or any of the practices that have their roots in culture rather than in religion. On the day of Ashura, I fast, like most Muslims and I remind my family that some people gave EVERYTHING in order to carry the message of Allah forward. All we have to do is stand on the shoulders of those giants and continue carrying it in our lives.
Too many people miss the lessons that the story of Karbala offers us. They miss the story of Muslims standing up in the face of an oppressor, even when the oppressor is the “established” and accepted authority. We miss the lesson that our allegiance is to what is good and right and not to the institutions, traditions, or expectations of our communities. We miss those lessons and it shows.
It shows in the corruption of our government, the abuse in our families, the oppression in our traditions, and the double standards in our communities.
People who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Reflecting on the history of our ummah is something that we should all do. And one of the most pivotal moments in that history is the martyrdom of Imam Hussain. Whether you are a secular historian or a religious scholar, there is no doubt that what happened on that day is something that should never be forgotten.
If you don’t know what happened on the day we all call Ashura on the dusty plain of Karbala, then it’s your duty to find out. It’s your duty to shed a tear for what happened and what we continue to do to each other.
Shed a tear for all of our brothers and sisters all over the world who suffer similar or worse fates. But, don’t let it end there. Carry the light of the hope and faith of Imam Hussain and all the members of his household into your real life. Recall that on that day both parties called themselves Muslims. And recall the fact that the party that won the day, ultimately lost the battle.
If you understand the events of that day then you can stand up for yourself and others. You can face trials without fear. You can have comfort when doing what’s right costs you dearly. If you remember what happened on that 10th day of Muharram then you can understand when others say Every day is Ashura and every land is Karbala.